Three tweens find themselves in a galaxy-spanning competition in “How I Spent My Summer Invasion,” a graphic novel written by Oklahoma native Patrick Rieger.
At the beginning of the summer, Tim, Elly and Russ happen upon the exclusive hotel La Galatique. But La Galatique isn't just any exclusive hotel — it caters to intergalactic alien travelers.
“The first day, Russ, who's a baseball player, accidentally smashes this big, ornate sculpture out front,” Rieger said. “They have to spend part of their summer working there as bellhops for this hotel. And in the process of that, there's actually a big rivalry.”
As the three begin their new jobs for the hotel proprietor, the beetle-like Je'tarl, they find themselves in competition with a huge hotel conglomerate that caters to aliens. The evil hotel mogul Mol'tar Xilton is determined to ruin La Galatique's reputation.
“There's some kind of sabotage going on,” Rieger said. “And Tim, Elly and Russ have to figure out how to solve it.”
Rieger, who now lives in Los Angeles, is a writer for the upcoming “Thunderbirds” animated series reboot. He's also working on comic-book properties. “How I Spent My Summer Invasion” was drawn by Mark Sean Wilson and published by WE Comics.
“Invasion,” now out as a graphic novel collecting five individual issues, was called “delightful” by Girlsreadcomics.com and “gut-busting” by fanboycomics.net.
“The first five stories all form a larger arc, and I'm really happy with the way it ends,” Rieger said.
Rieger grew up in Norman, where his father, Andy, is the editor of The Norman Transcript.
“My dad, who's been working at the Transcript for about 20 years now, really inspired me to be a writer,” Rieger said. “I moved out to Los Angeles about seven years ago to pursue it.”
Growing up, Patrick Rieger was frequently a camp counselor, where he learned he loved to tell children's stories.
“I realized that Los Angeles was the best place for me to reach as wide an audience as possible,” he said. “So when I moved out to Los Angeles — I didn't really know how I was going to do it.
“The first couple of years were a big learning curve for me.”
Starting a writer's group for upcoming animation writers helped to build Rieger's connections and improve his craft.
“I've been a hired gun for a lot of things; I've been a ghostwriter for a couple of projects,” Rieger said. “And this is the first year I've been a television writer. I'm on this new show called ‘Thunderbirds Are Go,' which is coming out Easter of 2015.”